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Back Home Part 1: Getting There

January 6, 2010

I’m back! Well, technically I got back Sunday night…but I’ve been busy unpacking, doing laundry, catching up on my ridiculous pile of e-mail, etc… Now, it is time to begin catching up on some blogging!

We went home for Christmas week- back to New England from our current location in Toledo, Ohio; and then went to Maine for New Year’s week. I’m going to recount our trip for you now, starting with the struggle we had just getting back home. Yes, it needs its own post.

Take a seat and cozy up with your blanket, as I am about to retell the story of the Kathy Ann’s and the Christmas Miracle.

It was a cold and windy the Sunday evening before Christmas. We had originally hoped to begin our trek back home Saturday evening, but we didn’t have enough time to complete everything so we delayed our journey by one day. Jimmy likes to drive at night, so that by the time he is getting really tired, the sun is beginning to rise. Mind you, we have to drive the 14 hours back home since our cat, Harree, is sick and requires a special diet and supplements given twice a day. Not to mention, we had several heavy Christmas gifts that were not particularly suited for air travel.

We packed up the Durango…I can never figure out how we end up bringing such a large pile of stuff home even when I try to “pack light”. The Durango was our only vehicle option. We have 3 vehicles, but never once have they all been working at the same time. The car was- and is still- currently in pieces in the garage. It is well on its way to becoming whole again, but Jimmy just didn’t have enough time to put it all back together before we left. The pickup truck needs some minor tweaks, but is otherwise okay (it is just waiting for the car to get out of the garage), but the truck doesn’t have enough space for all our stuff, and the cat.

Next we headed out. We hadn’t eaten dinner yet, so we stopped at the first rest stop on the turnpike. We got back on the road, but a little while later nature- or the giant soda, rather- called and we were forced to make a pitstop in the Cleveland area. We got off the highway, and then Jimmy says, “Huh…the brakes just let go,” in an extremely calm voice. His ability to stay cool in dire circumstances is one of the things I love about him. We navigated the car into the next parking lot. Unfortunately- or perhaps fortunately- it was a crowded lot and we had to creep slowly by pedestrians. Eventually, we parked the car in an out of the way location.

Jimmy still needed to use the restroom, and he said he couldn’t come up with a plan until he did that first. So, he headed out for the outdoor mall-like thing on the other side of the parking lot. He was gone for quite some time. Shortly before his return, I witnessed a scene that could have been pulled straight from a romantic comedy. A beautiful, young woman, and a distinguished looking older gentlemen returned from what was clearly a date- probably a movie- to their car which was near ours. They made-out in the parking lot. I did my best to keep them out of my sight…as they were being quite physical about it, but it was hard to turn out their conversation. Well, as they were making out and acting all giddy, the guy’s cell phone rings. Who called him? Her. Apparently he had leaned just the right way to make her cell pocket dial, and it called his phone. They thought that was fabulous. And the subsequent conversation seemed so cheezy that it sounded like it was actually scripted.

Anyway, back to the story…Jimmy returned after quite an adventure. The mall was an outdoor mall and quite large and confusing. He finally found the public restrooms for the mall- but they were closed! So, he had to go into Borders. Meanwhile, he had called Tad on the phone to see if he had any ideas.

The boys brainstormed multiple ideas including trying to apply a bandage and limp it home. Problem was it was late…probably around 11pm by now, and we weren’t in walking distance (well, walking distance in the FREEZING cold) to any place that would have the materials. Not too mention it was really far too cold and crazy windy for Jimmy to work outside.

Jimmy has AAA. So he called and got a woman named Pat. Pat was kind of rude, and she gave us this spiel about how he couldn’t use his membership anymore since he hadn’t transferred the address to Ohio. Additionally, if they agreed to tow us, it would be $4 per mile…we were 100 miles away….ouch.  Pat said we couldn’t upgrade to the package that covered the 100 mile tow- even though Jimmy was offering to pay now. She transferred us to the Cleveland office where Jimmy spoke to Kathy Ann #1. Kathy was far nicer than Pat, and she said that if our home office (back in NE, ie Pat) would authorize a membership upgrade, she could send out a tow for us. She transferred us back to the NE office. At this point, we weren’t very hopeful. But, Kathy Ann #2 answered. This Kathy was just as nice as the last. After some chatting, she called the Cleveland office and spoke to Kathy Ann #1.

Kathy Ann #2 called us back. Jimmy answered and she said, “All I have to say, James, is Merry Christmas.” The Kathy Anns (who had a nice little chat about their common names) had upgraded our membership for one night- free of charge- and authorized our tow. The tow would only cost us around $15 for the last 3-4 miles.

And that is the story of how the Kathy Anns saved Christmas, lol.

But there is more…

It took over an hour, but we finally had a tow truck arrive. The thing looked smaller than the Durango. Our driver was a crusty elderly man named “Bob”, complete with overalls….not coveralls, overalls…he looked more like farmer Bob. Whilst Bob hauled the Durango and its contents (poor Harree had to stay inside the Durango) on to the flatbed, Jimmy observed the underneath of the vehicle- which had begun leaking additional fluids from new places.

Next, we climbed into Bob’s tiny as pickup truck. Since it was a standard, Jimmy and I had to essentially share one seat. We journeyed home in this old, rickety, and loud tow truck. I was worried the whole time that the tow truck would end up needing a tow as well. The weather got pretty icky as well, making our ride home even LONGER. Jimmy & I were stuck in very uncomfortable positions the whole ride (my butt was sore the entire next day- as I was pressed up against the door).

We had *almost* made it home when police lights came up behind us. Yes, the tow truck was pulled over. Fortunately, we had the nicest (and youngest) cop ever. He just wanted to let Bob know that his back lights were out. He didn’t give us a hard time at all- which was excellent considering the lack of seat belts. :/

Eventually, we got home and unloaded everything. Since it was 5am already, we were able to call Jimmy’s parents and explain the situation to them before crashing for several hours.

We ended up having to rent a vehicle (so long Christmas money!), and we left the following evening. Our plans were a bit messed up, I had to reschedule my doctor’s appt to Christmas eve (yuck!), and the candy I had made as Christmas presents was ruined due to the drastic temperature changes from being in the cold Durango being towed to inside where it was nice and warm.

But…at least we made it home. :/

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